Imagine an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power exerted on you through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical, social and psychological harm. You know the saying, “hurt people hurt people?” It’s so true, that’s one thing I’ve grown to understand about “bullies”. Only years after being bullied and tormented because of my complexion I learned that “my bullies” had a low self-esteem and them pulling me down made them feel better about themselves. I grew up with an inferiority complex because I was called names from black cat, black mamba, Oreo, coconut and was even told God left me in the oven longer.
The reasons behind bullying can be rooted from lack of impulse control and anger management issues to revenge, power, popularity, prejudice and peer pressure/ a desire to fit in. People who want to be in control or have power are prone to bullying. Sometimes bullying can be a manifestation of social status. There’s also a tendency of some people who have victims of bullying seeking revenge for whatever the victim might have done to them. I’ve also learnt that people who come from abusive homes are more likely to bully others because aggression and violence are modelled for them. Bullying can happen to kids and adults and the effects can have lasting negative impact on the victim.
October is International Bullying awareness month and on Episode 11 of Healing with Sophie and Gugu we had an amazing, strong, unstoppable young lady who held a knife where it was sharpest and is alive, standing tall to tell it all. Vutomi Sophia Tshabalala, has gone through what some people wouldn’t have been able to go through at her age. She was bullied by people who were supposed to welcome her, love her and protect her.Vutomi says; she experienced bullying in the hands of those she loved and trusted mostly, my “In-laws.” Bullying for me came in a form of rumours that were spread to tarnish my image when I separated from my husband. Initially I thought that keeping quiet and doing nothing would make the situation go away faster. In my silence, I measured my strength by how much As a results of bullying, I found myself battling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and almost committed suicide. The finger pointing and bad rumours left me questioning the essence of my being and caused an overwhelming sense of sadness and anger.pain I could endure.
Keeping quiet and avoiding confrontation was not worth it at the end, I wish I had ended it all sooner. Fixing the damage, they did to my mental state was much more expensive than fighting back. The goal of verbal bullying is to degrade and demean the victim in order to make the attacker appear dominant and powerful. I worked hard to heal myself and came out victorious, some people don’t make it out okay.
Bullies are often not aware of the consequences of their actions, until later in life. Some of them have their own pains and do not know how to deal with them correctly. Irrespective of the reason behind bullying, no one has the right to make another person feel less about themselves. We need to learn to be kinder to other people, the price we pay for bullying is too expensive.
Bullying makes you feel afraid, degraded and often leaves a person feeling like they are worthless. The greatest kind of bullying to experience is verbal abuse, because there is no physical evidence to prove it. Words can go out of the mouth in small waves but enter the receiving ears like a gun; yet the effects are the loudest as one carries the deep emotional scars with them for life.
Bullying has many different forms and can take place in different environments from school, work, church, to social media and it certainly does not discriminate against age, race or creed – it can happen to anyone.
When life has given you, many blows don’t be afraid to rise and fight for the life you dream of. You can’t think less of yourself and expect others to think highly of you. If you’re a bully, learn to feel good about yourself so that you don’t need to bring down others to feel good about yourself.
Workplace Bullying : Email : email@example.com Whatsapp : 073 886 7240 / 064 516 6598 / 082 500 3359 Tel : 011 593 2148
School Bullying : Childline Tel : 08000 55 555
I’m reminded of a very recent incident of “online bullying” on Chadwick Boseman when he posted a picture of himself having lost weight. I can’t even begin to imagine how his bullies felt when he died, and they realized he was fighting for his life. “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind”.
– Much love : Nkateko Tikva Magadzi